All of the Flags of the World
by Graziella Carbone
1986 – The Little White Miller arrives racing on his motorcycle
Perhaps in the hope tote able to reach his Beautiful Clementine to give her a freshly baked snack pie (at the time it was baked, besides with apricot jam like today, also with strawberry jam and banana marmalade), the Little White Miller left his helicopter aside and mounted on his motorcycle. And to do so, he received a new identity card…
It was 1986 and to underline this change the plastic bag that contained the Little Surprise went from light blue colour to light yellow, and was personalized with the printed image of PMB on a motorcycle. This type of packaging lasted until almost the end of 1987, date in which the small boxes with PMB’s image came back.
The first Little Surprise in the yellow bag, catalogued at the Barilla Historical Archive with number 1986/04, was a rubber eraser that reproduced a traffic light… perhaps to remind our hero not to speed!
On the same theme, small erasers represented triangular street signs (1984), round ones (1985), and rectangular signs (1986) were produced and featured a variety of subjects and were issued in very large numbers. Also, these rubbers had a cylindrical hole in the thick part which made it possible to insert the tip of pencils to protect them and to transform the pencils themselves into poles for the street signs… These became collectible items to exchange with schoolmates and at the same time were tools to teach about civics education.
1986 – The Flag Erasers
Seeing the success of the street sign erasers, we were asked to produce a new series with numerous subjects and a high factor of collectability. Thus, the Flag Erasers were created – an infinite series, truly complete and special, representing flags from around the world and produced by Locati. It was one of the greatest successes in the field of promotions for children: over ninety million pieces were manufactured!
Collecting flag images has always been a favourite pastime of children and an inexhaustible source of exchange. Sixty-five different varieties were made in one and a half million exemplars each, shaped as waving and as pencil protector caps, printed on both sides. The series was proposed in several editions through the years that followed and in 1989 was packaged in paper bags with a specific logo, The Flag Erasers. In 1987 a further series of Postage Stamp Erasers was proposed, featuring dozens of subjects and colour variants.